Batman Reptilian #2
DC Comics Black Label 2021
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Liam Sharp
Lettered by Rob Steen
Batman hits the streets in search of the creature terrorizing Gotham’s underworld-and hits them hard.
First stop is the lair of the Penguin, but Oswald Cobblepot is at death’s door (which is better off than the beast left many of his cronies). The mangled rogue has no answers for Batman, but his blood-and the surprising secrets that it holds-will send the vigilante ever deeper into darkness…
I am enamoured wit the way that this is being told. The fact that Batman hasn’t a clue what it is that’s attacking Gotham’s criminal element and that he keeps coming upon them torn to shreds is such a fascinating thing to see unfold. There are few things that stymie Bruce and this is one of them so to see him so flustered and unable to pinpoint just what is happening in his city under his nose doesn’t sit well with him in the slightest. Garth manages to really capture the personalities and feelings of these characters in ways that we are both familiar with and that furthers how we see them in a new light.
I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction and how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter continue to flesh them out in the characters we know and love. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing more and more of the story we’re left to wonder in amazement at the sheer and utter carnage being visited on Gotham’s most powerful criminals.
I greatly appreciate the way that we see this being structured and how the layers within the story continue to grow, evolve, strengthen and emerge. As the avenues are explored and new ones open up thanks to new information we see how this extra depth, dimension and complexity is added to the story. Plus there is some outright stellar characterisation and dialogue between characters here that despite the gravity of the situation will make you laugh out loud. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves he story forward is impeccably achieved.
Liam’s interiors here are mindbogglingly brilliant! The painted effect is stunning and that imagery such as that of a Carcharodon Carcharias is rendered the way it is simply bloody brilliant. The work we see and how we see it mixes linework with colour work so that there are times you don’t see the linework at all. This is the kind of work that you beg to see and see more of it’s just that bloody good. With how backgrounds are utilised throughout to enhance and expand the moments while working within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story is magnificent. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work is equally as brilliant as it works to show depth and dimension as well as being utilised to create musculature in the faces and bodies. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work leaves me utterly chuffed.
DC’s Black Label is the new Elseworld’s and it’s so adult oriented that it is a pure and simple joy to read. With this amazing writing and characterisation wrapped up in these mindbogglingly brilliant interiors take Batman places we’ve yet to see and can’t wait to see more of.